Everybody Wants To Become A Minister – Stability vs Selfishness, Results vs Rhetoric, Quality vs Quantity

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Jul 03 2018
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Mahathir Mohamad, the world’s oldest prime minister at the age of 93, should try to break another world record by making every MP (Member of Parliament) a minister. Malaysia will then have more than 120 ministries, the biggest in the world. Every MP will happily go back home with their own trophy. But that would also make the country a joke on planet Earth.


The only MP without a portfolio is none other than Prime Minister Mahathir himself, who had tried to appoint himself as Education Minister but gave up the idea because it violates the Pakatan Harapan coalition manifesto. Now that the second round of ministries have been allocated, it’s DAP turn to throw tantrum, claiming disrespect for Pakatan Harapan component parties.


Well, Mahathir must have done something terribly right when both PKR and DAP, two of four component parties of the coalition government, are condemning the prime minister. He had said it before – if everybody is happy in a coalition, something is wrong. As we had said before, there are simply too many talents in the new government that there aren’t enough portfolios to go around.

Pakatan Harapan Mahathir - Talents - Rafizi Ramli, Tony Pua, Lim Guang Eng, Nurul Izzah

DAP only got 6 minister posts despite having 42 parliamentary seats. PKR, which possess 48 parliamentary seats, was given 8 ministers. However, Mahathir’s own party, PPBM, has been allocated 6 ministers despite winning only 13 parliamentary seats. Even the smallest party – Amanah – was given 5 ministers despite winning only 11 seats. Obviously, this isn’t fair at all.


In other words, the combination of PPBM and Amanah would have only 24 parliamentary seats but are rewarded a jaw-dropping 11 ministers. That’s a ratio of almost 1 minister for 2 seats. Using the same ratio, DAP and PKR should be allocated 20 and 23 ministers respectively. But based on current ratio, DAP was given 1 minister for every 7 seats, while PKR 1 minister for every 6 seats won.


Hence, to be fair, both PPBM and Amanah should be given at most 2 ministers each only. But can you see the problem here. If minister posts are allocated according to the proportion of seats won by the component parties, both PPBM and Amanah would be sidelined and seen as neglected, giving plenty of opportunities for the opposition to incite uprising and hatred towards the new government.

Pakatan Harapan - Opposition New Pact

UMNO, which lost its power for the first time since independence in 1957, will be quick to use racial card and incite the ethnic-Malay – that the Chinese-based DAP controls the government. PAS, the extreme Islamic party, will be quick to use religion card and incite the ethnic-Malay – that the splinter Amanah is being bullied by non-Muslims.


In essence, if minister posts are allocated according to the proportion of seats won by the component parties, both PKR and DAP would get the lion share. You don’t need a rocket scientist to tell that the gullible and ignorant Malay folks would be influenced into believing that the Malays have lost its power to the Chinese.


However, if PKR gets the lion share but not the DAP, the Chinese will see the new government as nothing but the emergence of bully Barisan Nasional coalition 2.0. And if both PKR and DAP agree to share the lion share while telling Mahathir and Mat Sabu to fly kite, the insulted PPBM and Amanah might leave the coalition, resulting in the collapse of the government.

Mahathir Mohamad - Thinking

A week ago, Mahathir has said he is prepared to step down if there is a falling out between him and the Pakatan Harapan leadership. It appears that he knew the allocation of the minister posts could be the last straw that broke the camel’s back, if everyone greedily wants all the food on the buffet table. DAP and PKR should put the new government stability on top of selfish indulgence for ministership.


The Pakatan Harapan coalition government has been foaming at the mouth whining, crying and screaming about a new era of Malaysia where everyone will be treated equally during their election campaign. If that is still true, it doesn’t matter if DAP only gets 6 ministers and PKR the 8 ministers. At the end of the day, the people want to see results, and not rhetoric.


During the old Barisan Nasional regime, UMNO had always gotten the lion share in a mind-boggling bloated cabinet of 35 ministers. But how many of those ministers actually delivered the results? Most of the ministers from the old government were sleeping on the job. Their only job was counting their ill-gotten money and lives a lavish lifestyle, as the people struggled to put food on the table.

UMNO Drawing - Leaders

Of the 13 component parties of Barisan Nasional coalition, only UMNO called the shot. The other 12 components were practically non-productive. MCA and MIC, supposedly representing the Chinese and Indian community, could only bark cautiously. Even when the minorities were bullied and insulted, the most MCA and MIC could do was spewing rhetoric.


DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang is perhaps the only MP in Pakatan Harapan who doesn’t want to become a minister. He knew that in reality, racism and extremism are still very alive and kicking. He would rather go down without any position to satisfy the young and ambitious MPs. And he certainly understood that too many cooks spoil the broth.


Therefore, DAP ambitious youngsters should also take into consideration the quality, not quantity of the minister positions allocated. For example, a finance minister portfolio is definitely worth more than two ministers in charge of youth and sports, not that the latter is completely useless. The International Trade and Industry as well as Education Ministries, despite being its deputies, are quite prestigious too.

Mahathir Mohamad and Lim Guan Eng - Whisper

Similarly, PKR should remember that eventually their supremo Anwar Ibrahim will get the cream – Prime Minister of Malaysia – in another 2 years period. That would be the most powerful position as Anwar can freely appoint himself as the Finance Minister as well (*grin*). Mahathir, in anticipation of a possible break-up, is actually preparing his cabinet in such way for a good reason.


One can argue until the cows come home but PKR (8 ministers), DAP (6 ministers), Amanah (5 ministers) and PPBM (6 ministers) have been allocated portfolios based on “equal partnership”. Such formula would prevent Pakatan Harapan from becoming Barisan Nasional 2.0 where the weak component parties will always get bullied and discriminated.


Like it or not, Mahathir has set the standard to be as fair as possible from the perspective of equal representation among the four component parties in the coalition. DAP and PKR have to understand that Mahathir has to take care of his party too. When push comes to shove, Mahathir can always rejoin UMNO and form a new coalition, now that his mission to get rid of Najib is accomplished.

Pakatan Harapan Leaders - Cheering

At the end of the day, the new government must be stable to convince foreign investors. And they should prioritise results instead of empty rhetoric in the deliverables from the ministers. There are many other ways the MPs can contribute, not necessary as ministers. They could be made the head of certain crucial agencies to prove their worthiness before the next promotion. Be patient!!!


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